Sushi Kappo Kobikicho – Japanese Gastronomy at its Finest in Manila

If someone wants to experience a real and honest way of eating Japanese food here in Manila, a dining experience having both the quality and philosophy of Japanese cuisine, Sushi Kappo Kobikicho is the place for you!

Sushi Kappo is located in Legazpi Street in Makati. It is a small quiet place where the quality of food is comparable to that of fine dining in the land of the rising sun.

This photo was taken from Anton because as usual, my photography is poor.

This place is run by 4 Japanese chefs having four dining rooms with a seating capacity of only 32 people. Imagine that! The ratio of chefs (not including cooks) to customers is 1:8! Knowing this ratio gave me a high expectation of the place which was well given.


This is another shot taken from Anton. Ok, this is the last one. The next pictures were taken by me.

Having eaten at most restaurants, I believe that the degustation menu of the restaurant shows the heart, philosophy, and quality of the establishment. More often than not, if the budget permits it, I try to involve myself with it.

With that in mind, I had their degustation a few weeks back and boy, it was a great experience!

In Sushi Kappo, you won’t see a degustation menu but an ‘Omakase‘ option. It means ‘It is up to you’. This means that you want the chef to serve you whatever he wants to.

We started with a cold appetizer.

This was the best egg I have eaten here in Manila!

The whole egg was silky and the yolks were rich. This is the first time I have seen eggs this bright. You can see it here.

As we enjoyed our first course, Chef Shintaro started preparing the second course.

This is what I like about this place. There is a personal touch of the chef with his clients. The chef tries to share his philosophy and gastronomy with us through his food. He bridges us together with food.

These sashimis were of the highest quality among all the other Japanese restaurants I have been to in Manila. The sea urchin gave us this clean flavor of the sea while the freshness of the scallop gave a strong yet clean shellfish flavor. The shrimp was quite sweet and gave a good fresh texture. Quality is really high since they hand carried these items from Japan. They go to Japan twice a week just to be able to serve us this quality of food.

Need I say more about the ohtoro? This belly gave me a rich flavor of tuna. This is like kobe beef but tuna. It was fresh, light, rich, and delightful!

And you know what’s best about this place?

So far, this is the only Japanese restaurant I know that serves real wasabi and there is a huge difference. It is less pungent and, for me, a bit sweet. The only time I had fresh wasabi was during my last trip in Japan.

Next came their simmered dish.

The flavor was simple but it was a damn good pork dish. I could easily cut the pork with my chopsticks. I especially liked the Japanese squash: kabocha. It has a sharper sweetness to it than the local squash and the texture wasn’t mushy. It also gave this strong and clean earthy flavor which went really well with the whole dish.

Next came their grilled fish.

It was grilled catfish on ginsho charcoal. This is very traditional, simple, and again very high quality. There was no muddy taste and the texture was delicate.

Next came our beef.

If you want to see the marbling of this beef before it was cooked, click here. Yes, I had Matsusaka here. There’s no need to tell you how great it was.

As we savored each bite of the steak, Chef Shintaro started preparing our sushi.

First we had ika or cuttlefish/squid.

Next was beef! Yep, we got to eat raw beef and the experience was actually fascinating. It had some ebiko and some Japanese scallions.

Next we had a lightly grilled beef sushi. This was another beef sushi but had a whole new dimension of flavor and texture. This one had onions and ginger.

Oh, I almost forgot, they even gave us some finger towels.

As you can see from the picture above, we had some dipping sauces. The chef tells us what sushi to dip with which sauce so the blend of flavors is better.

Next was one of my favorites: Kurumai shrimp!

It had a good texture with a nice sweetness into it. It was totally different from the Bokuten (sashimi part).

Next came uni!

It was first covered with shiso (Japanese mint) before serving it to us and like I have said before, it gave a strong and clean oceanic taste.

Lastly, we had anago: Sea eel!

Saltiness of the fish was in harmony with its tare sauce.

During the meal, we were also served miso soup.

But the degustation didn’t end there. We still had some ohtoro teka maki.

This was finished with two kinds of tamago. One was silky in texture while the other one was a bit crumbly in texture. Both really had a strong and rich egg flavor.

For the last run, the meal ended with a simple dessert.

So, how did I find it? It was terrific. It was my best meal so far in Manila! This is what Japanese food is all about: simple cooking with the BEST possible ingredients. Moreover, there was a sense of tranquility as one participates in this meal. The setup of the meal made me feel that it was just me, the chef, and his food. This wasn’t just an experience; it was a journey! The progression of one course to another wasn’t only well crafted but also well thought off. Each course gave a whole new flavor, texture, and a new experience!

Thanks to Chef Shintaro for letting me participate in this journey. It was quite expensive. Heck, it was VERY EXPENSIVE! It was more than twice the price in Aubergine but it was worth every cent. It wasn’t just eating, it was also education, and at some point, getting into the world of Japanese gastronomy.

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14 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by ja on May 18, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    so… lilibre mo ako dito dba? coz you lost our bet! =)

    Reply

  2. Hershey, join our Market-to-Plate Tour. Learn with us about sustainable foods and a lot more. For details, visit http://www.pinoyorganics.com/events/

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    Reply

  3. Posted by rowena disini on May 21, 2010 at 2:53 am

    I’m sorry to dampen your excitement about Sushi Kappo, but my husband and I ate there almost a year ago on my birthday. We had almost the same meal, looking at your pictures. It was good when we were eating it (and yes, expensive!). Had no complaints, until I got home. I woke up in the middle of the night with the most terrible of stomach aches!!!! It was like delivering a baby without anaesthesia, i swear! I was almost taken to the emergency room on my birthday. My doctor-brother said i had food poisoning. My sister in-law, who’s a chef, explained that there’s just three reasons for that — one, the chef did not wash his hands properly (yuck!!!!!), or the fresh sushi, etc, was not stored at the right temperature, or was not served immediately and was left out of the freezer for a while, allowing bacteria to breed (yuck again!!!). My husband emailed them the next day reporting the incident (and not really demanding for anything), just to let them know that their food might be contaminated. They did not even give us the decency of a reply. Maybe they noticed that my husband was a lawyer and that got them all defensive. Sushi Kappo? NO WAY!!!! I would sooner shoot myself than eat there again. Sushi Kappo – gastronomy? It’s more of a monstrosity!!! But, Aubergine — hey now, that’s a really good restaurant (and much cheaper too!!!!).

    Reply

    • Wow! I never thought that could happen to their customer…! With your complaint about it, looks like they are not that consistent after all. Seems like I got a little bit lucky? 😦 Thank you for sharing your experience rowena. At least we get to let people know their inconsistency.

      Reply

  4. Posted by tvguidephilippines on May 22, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    looks like they don’t have food poisoning insurance, which I carry.

    Reply

  5. Posted by tvguidephilippines on May 22, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    where is it exactly on Legazpi Street? intersecting Palanca, Rada?

    Reply

  6. Posted by tvguidephilippines on May 22, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    what building?

    Reply

  7. Posted by gourmandtales on June 1, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    definitely one of the best sushi restaurant in town

    Reply

  8. Posted by gourmandtales on June 1, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    places i have eaten that serves fresh wasabi
    KIKIFUJI- pasong tamo
    Nagomi- Ortigas
    Tsukiji- PAsay Road
    Hanakazu – BF Sucat
    NOthing beats the fresh stuff

    Reply

    • I’ve been to kikufuji and Tsukiji and I don’t remember them serving me some fresh wasabi 😦 Maybe I should go back again πŸ™‚ thanks for dropping by πŸ˜‰

      Reply

  9. Posted by m. on June 15, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    really enjoy going to sushi kappo kobikicho! delicious, fresh and authentic. will go back again tomorrow πŸ˜‰

    Reply

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